Punish or Treat?: Medical Care in English Prisons 1770-1850

Punish or Treat?: Medical Care in English Prisons 1770-1850

by Peter McRorie Higgins
     
 


This book, the definitive account of its subject, is essential reading for those interested in medical history, criminology or social history and presents a lively and occasionally shocking account of the day-to-day work of prison medical officers in the period 1770 to 1850. Additionally it provides much of interest to the general reader, informing widely on…  See more details below

Overview


This book, the definitive account of its subject, is essential reading for those interested in medical history, criminology or social history and presents a lively and occasionally shocking account of the day-to-day work of prison medical officers in the period 1770 to 1850. Additionally it provides much of interest to the general reader, informing widely on the workings of prisons, on prison reform, on the practitioners themselves and the manner in which medicine was practiced in this period. Information has been amassed from many sources including: (1) journals kept by prison medical officers, (2) parliamentary enquiries, and (3) reports of prison inspectors. Some of these sources have never been previously studied; others have not been subjected to scrutiny from the informed medical standpoint which the author's working life in the practice of medicine makes possible.
The conclusion reached is that the prime factor motivating prison medical staff was the provision of a good standard of care. In other publications these men have received a bad press: accused of active participation in a system of control and punishment. In reality they provided care, which, so far as can be ascertained, was of the same quality as that provided to private patients, and although some treatment methods may seem primitive or even cruel to the modern reader, these were normal at the time.
The practice of medicine necessarily involves the implementation of power; in general these prison medical officers exercised that power in a correct and professional manner.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781425101534
Publisher:
Trafford Publishing
Publication date:
03/14/2007
Pages:
294

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